Fathead Barleywine - Nebraska Brewing Company
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Ratings: 11 | Reviews: 1 | Show All Ratings:
Reviews by imperialking:
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4.25/5 rDev +10.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4
Picked up this bottle of Fathead while at Nebraska Brewing recently on my road trip to Denver. I hadn't heard of it before, but rarely turn down the chance of drinking a barleywine on my summer trips. One of the disadvantages to be a teacher-beer hunter is that I don't travel during the winter when some of my favorite dark beers like barleywine are available.
Beautiful ruby barleywine in the glass that only reluctantly gives up an off white head at all in spite of a hard pour for the second half for encouragement. Light legs when tilted showing the nearly 11% ABV that is also apparent but not overwhelming in the nose along with cherry, fig, oakiness and a clear, bright hop or yeast spiciness. Elegant nose leads to a lightbodied, fruity ale with a slight oiliness. Spice continues but doesn't live up to the promise in the nose.
As it warms, the 6 months in fresh whiskey barrels becomes more apparent. I missed the vanilla initially but it's clearly there. The brown sugar in the description I can imagine when going back, but looks to be a bit of marketing to me. It's definitely sweet, to the brink of cloying, and it represents that idea just fine. Drink this one slow, or leave it out for a while before tasting, to get to these flavors soon. My beer fridge sits at about 42 degrees and that's too cold for this one.
Description on the website is enlightening as well. The "fresh whiskey" barrels vaguely listed on the bottle are noted online as Stranahan's Whiskey. When on the tour of Stranahan's just a day after visiting Nebraska Brewing, the tour guide said their barrels are used by breweries for aging beer on the strict condition that the Stranahan's name not be used. This is quickly becoming my biggest mistake in that I didn't ask why they prohibit the use of the name since it seems to be good advertising. Plus, had I known, I would've liked drinking this next to the Stranahan's bottle while in Denver or saved for later. Oh well. Maybe another time.
Overall, a very nice barleywine and little to complain about. I'm enjoying it, slowly, as a celebration for finishing the last assignment of my very last class to top out on the salary scale. In theory, I'm done with required formal schooling as soon as I click send to turn in the assignment via email.
Not a moment that I could have imagined in 1989 when I started college at Purdue, nor that I would be drinking a barleywine from Nebraska. When I started college, I was a teetotaler who thought he'd teach physics and math while coaching wrestling and track. While that would have been a perfectly acceptable path, I'm happy to be an English teacher and speech coach who hunts beer on the side. Such is the amazingly capricious nature of life.
Pic at http://pintsizedrevelations.blogspot.com/2012/07/fathead-barley-wine-nebraska-brewing.html
Serving type: bottle
07-21-2012 20:28:43 | More by FightingEntropy
Fathead Barleywine from Nebraska Brewing Company
85 out of 100 based on 11 ratings.